Debutant director Vinil Mathew’s Hasee toh Phasee is a spirited and welcome entry into the romantic comedy genre in Bollywood which hasn’t given too many good films lately. The film surprises you with its unexpected quirks in its leads and their situations, yet falling beautifully into the rom-com trajectory. Mathew and writer Harshvardhan Kulkarni’s perky take on love indeed is ‘cucking frazzy.’
Just like produces Karan Johar and Anurag Kashyap coming from distinctly different cinematic affiliations, Nikhil (Sidharth Malhotra) and Meeta (Parineeti Chopra), too have starkly different ideologies. Nikhil is a struggling businessman, a non-achiever in a family of IPS and IFS officers. His remaining committed to his fiancée (played by Adah Sharma), is more an exercise at proving that he has some hold over his life. Meeta, on the other hand, is a non-conformist, a drug abuser anda chemical engineer who robs her own family to fund her research in China. Both odds, non-fits, black sheeps of their families meet briefly and then meet after seven years! But what keeps the potential love angle between the two on hold is the fact that Meeta turns out to be Nikhil’s fiancée’s sister. From this point, the film goes on a total rampage of defying rules, subtly mocking at the accepted social norms – the hideous amount of money spent in Indian weddings for instance, the even more hideous fun fairs surrounding the celebrations.
It, in that sense, is a celebration of aberrations, of how it is not just about the clichéd ‘two opposites’ falling in love, but two completely dysfunctional individuals finding what they have to offer each other. It’s the sheer oddity of get-up, of antics, of a total lack of pretence on Meeta’s part, delivered with panache by Parineeti, is what will touch the right chords with the viewers. Siddharth too, besides looks that distract, have shown commendable growth as an actor from his first film, Student of the Year. He holds his ground pretty well against Parineeti’s towering talent which doesn’t need any proving anymore. This was as much his film as it was Parineeti’s, for that matter the Director, Vinil Mathew’s.
If he falters in any way is his dance moves which unfortunately is so important for mainstream actors even today. He was not Shammi-like at all while doing ‘Shake it Like Shammi.’ One sees refreshingly real people in the ensemble wedding cast – ones you bump into in every wedding, a far cry from the over dose of glammed-up naanis and daadis. The music by Vishal-Shekhar grows on you but certainly is not the highlight of the film. A spoof on ACP Pradyuman had the house bursting in laughter and was definitely the highlight for me.
The rare occasions over which the film fails are few scenes which were dragged beyond serving for any plot or humor.Hasee Toh Phasee could be your best bet at cinemas this week. Those of you who are only looking for a formulaic Bollywood romance to go with the Valentine’s Day spirit, you might want to steer clear from this one. As perfectly put by Meena Iyer, “Hasee toh Phasee is for the romantics who like their martinis stirred not shaken.”